Clara Montag was a human woman from the city of Hiberia. She is the elder "sister" of Sophie Montag. A former child slave, she was rescued and rehabilitated by the prophet Dagda Vormund, subsequently becoming one of his first followers and among the few surviving members of the Cult of Vormund. She was illegally married to Kemet, an Exekian, and had a child by him, John Stirling.
Born in Hiberia, Apicarta, in 147 AYZ, Clara was the daughter of two unmarried servants working for a wealthy lord. When she was still very young, her father died. Her mother became a listless alcoholic and soon lost her job. To avoid starvation, she sold the eleven year old Clara into slavery.
Removed from her mother's care, Clara was eventually purchased by a wealthy merchant known as Madame Rathbone, who pretended she was her orphaned ward. Rathbone forced Clara to act as a household servant, and while she wouldn't hit the girl, she would frequently verbally abuse her and withhold meals as punishment for minor infractions. Clara was not allowed to leave the house or speak unless spoken to; she described her experience as being treated like an automaton, without thoughts or feelings of her own.
After seven years of bondage, Clara discovered that Rathbone intended to sell her to a brothel and replace her with a new girl, Sophie. Out of despair, Clara became suicidal.
While attempting to squeeze through the bars outside her bedroom window in order to jump to her death, Clara heard the prophet Vormund preaching below. Vormund saw her and tried to talk to her, but she was pulled away from the window by Rathbone before she could reply.
Not long after, Clara killed Rathbone and was forced to flee. She took Sophie with her and found Vormund, who placed them in the care of Heather Montag, a retired nurse and close friend of his. Heather gradually helped the two girls recuperate, and during that time they each took the last name Montag and began referring to each other as "sister".
In 162, following the instructions of a divine vision, Vormund headed for the Kuhlimani Mountains. Several of his acolytes followed, Clara among them.
The cult came upon an Exekian called Kemet, who was badly beaten and left for dead. They nursed him back to health, and in return he allowed them to stay in his hideout, the caves of Arza Kell. Clara and Kemet fell in love. The couple were married in a double wedding ceremony, along with Gavin and Melissa Zosimus.
Clara left the caves in 164, traveling with Vormund to the city of Bodai. Within a few weeks, they were banished from the city and forced to return to Arza Kell. Clara refused to follow them on their next journey (a return trip to Hiberia), preferring to stay with Kemet, who was taking care of the infant Laura.
Disbanding of the Cult
Some weeks later, the trio of Leonard Gorrister, Gavin Zosimus, and Adrian Vandiir (disguised as Drusus Rolfe) returned to the caverns. Knowing that "Drusus" intended to betray them, Leonard went on ahead in order to warn Kemet and Clara. They gave him Laura to bring back to Gavin and fled before Adrian could reach them.
Kemet and Clara traveled to Exekia.
Fifth Exekian War
In 183, the first Exekian kluuda since before the fall of the Empire began. It was nearly a full year later than expected, causing widespread concern and panic. Kemet was among the first to manifest the symptoms, and he quickly returned home in order to be with Clara.
Their peace and quiet was short-lived, however, as the Empress sent her agent Rasvan to seek Kemet out. Rasvan attempted to convince Kemet to mate with females of his own kind, but he refused to forsake Clara.
The couple was forcibly evacuated to the Exekian fortress of Heliobas. Kemet was made a commanding officer, although those taking shelter at the fortress treated him as if he were their prince. Clara discovered that she was pregnant and gave birth to a son, whom she and Kemet named Sinuhe.
In early drafts, she was named "Sophia Belgrade". In The Inquisitor, she uses "Miss Belgrade" as a false identity.
The name Clara means "bright" or "clear". She was named after the character from The Nutcracker.